Hardwood floors are a beautiful addition to any home. When you choose hardwood flooring, you’re making a big investment. Although initially pricey, they are absolutely worth it as time goes on. If you take proper care of it, hardwood floors will last a lifetime! As such, it’s important to consider a multitude of factors before making a final decision. After all, it’s not just choosing a color of wood and having done with it. Hardwood floors are completely customizable now!
Type of wood
You can choose from a wide variety of species of wood, and each type has a different grain and hardness. The most common types of hardwood flooring are cherry, maple, and oak because of their hardness. They’re extremely sturdy and can stand up to a lot of abuse. More exotic woods, such as mahogany or Brazilian cherry look incredible, but they are not as durable.
The color of your wood floors will vary depending on the type of wood you choose and the finish that’s on the wood. You can have anything from a brilliant blond floor, to a luscious cherry color, all the way to black. Wood can be stained to almost any color!
If you have pets and/or children, you’re going to want the hardest wood floors possible, such as red oak. This species of wood withstands wear and tear much better than pine, which is a softwood and scratches easily.
Solid or engineered wood
An option that’s available today is engineered wood. Basically, instead of having solid wood planks as your flooring, you have thinner planks that have a layer of hardwood bonded to other layers of a composite. There are advantages and disadvantages to this, such as:
- You cannot sand scratches out of engineered wood, as the top layer is much too thin.
- You can glue engineered wood directly to concrete, whereas solid wood floors are typically installed upon a layer or two of plywood (which can interfere with doors or baseboards).
- Engineered wood is designed to prevent warping and shifting.
- You shouldn’t use solid wood on floors that are below ground as moisture coming up from the ground can cause issues.
You can do a lot with your floors, just by choosing different types of boards. Narrow strips that are less than 3 inches wide offer a more traditional appearance. Wider planks look rustic and make a space seem more open. Squares, rectangles, and other geometric designs are also options, and give a space a more formal appearance.
Do you want floors that look shiny and brand new, or floors that look lived in and rustic? One of the things you can do with your hardwood floor involves the wood being hand scraped – giving it a timeworn appearance. Not only does this look incredible, it very handily disguises heavy use as time goes on!
The finish of the wood is what protects it, and gives it its color. You can choose to buy prefinished wood, or have it finished on site. Prefinished wood tends to last longer, but you have more options with site finishes. Also, prefinished wood is much easier to replace when damaged.
Your hardwood floors are completely customizable, and you should consider all of your options before you make a final decision. And once you have decided, ask for a sample to bring home! That way you can compare the appearance of the final product to your paint and furniture.